The musician will perform the record during a livestream tonight (Friday, March 27)
Scott Gorsuch’s new full-length, Park Boulevard Park, feels so transported from another era that it’s almost jarring when the musician sings about not having a GPS system on the Queen-esque “In My Car.”
“I grew up in the ‘70s listening to records as a kid,” said Gorsuch, who, after scrapping plans for a full-band release show at Dick’s Den due to the continuing COVID-19 shutdowns, will perform a solo streaming concert tonight (Friday, March 27) at 6 p.m. “People like [Todd] Rundgren and Queen and [Frank] Zappa, those artists are so hyper-focused in what they want to sound like, where they have this sound and I can just see them pushing people out of the way [to achieve it]. … That’s my favorite thing about artists from back then: They’re people who knew what they wanted so bad, and they knew how to get it. I hope in my own sort of low-rent, crappy way, that’s what I can be, that’s what I can do. That [the music] can just be super Gorsuch-y.”Get news and entertainment delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our daily newsletter
While many songwriters begin with an acoustic skeleton and gradually build to full-band arrangements, Gorsuch said that songs for him generally arrive fully fleshed out, complete with orchestral flourishes and multi-part harmonies, and then it’s a steady process of trying to recreate the sound in his head. For Park Boulevard Park, this process started almost precisely a year ago when Gorsuch got together in a room with drummer Matt Mees and bass guitarist Phil Maneri. Gorsuch then took these band recordings and applied what he termed his “low-rent Todd Rundgren stuff,” fleshing out the intricately arranged tracks with piano, string arrangements and more. Regardless, the musician said those early, in-the-room sessions were essential to shaping the sound of the album, which feels somewhat ironic now in a time when we’re all forced to live in isolation.
Even some of the lyrics now read like accidental reflections on this era, Gorsuch singing: “It’s hard to keep your thoughts from being acidic”; “Finally had quite enough about this life”; "Say goodbye to all you know.” Album closer “Peace,” in turn, serves as a plea for compassion amid tumult.
“I almost felt hokey and Live Aid rock star-ish writing that one, like I was overstepping my boundaries somehow, like, ‘Dude, I’m just a guitar player from Columbus, Ohio. I can’t fix anything. I can’t help anything,’” Gorsuch said. “But, I don’t know. Sadly, it will always be time for that song, and it will always be relevant.”
Other songs are more personal in nature, such as “Peter and Josephine,” which Gorsuch wrote after seeing a photo of his friends, a former couple, each kissing one of their newborn’s cheeks. “And it was a really sad breakup … and just looking at the photo is what made the song happen,” said Gorsuch, who changed the names to cloak its origins. “I had to put a different enough spin on it so that even if they heard it they might not know it was about them.”
The song, like a handful on the album, touches on the idea of human connection, whether Gorsuch is singing about its loss (“Peter and Josephine”) or hoping it can be rekindled (“Peace”), making the record a fitting listen for these weirdly disconnected days.
Indeed, it’s partly this disconnect (as well as the desire to return a favor to a neighbor) that recently drew Gorsuch and family outside to perform a few songs from a safe social distance for a close family friend.
“It’s almost like Christmas caroling or something, where you just go to someone’s yard and sing and play, and there’s no livestream. It’s just you, and the audience is right there,” he said. “And that feels super important right now … because that [connection] is in danger of getting lost.”